Of Mountain Lions …

When I first learned about game cameras I was immediately interested in how such camera traps could catch activities of wildlife undisturbed by human presence. I was also excited by the possibility of catching images or video of large predators in action, specifically mountain lions. I am no hunter and do not support trophy hunting or predator hunting and abhor these practices for many reasons. That said, so-called ‘game cameras’ are an essential tool for wildlife research and monitoring.

It took me several years to learn how to find the right place to set a camera trap that would catch large predators like mountain lions, but I finally caught on and learned to see their activity by tracks and associated preferred haunts.

Here are a few mountain lion videos that my camera traps have captured this year.

Mountain Lion & Fawn:

Mountain Lion in the Desert Heat:

Bear, Skunk, Bobcat and Mountain Lion:

Mountain Lion on the Move:

First Mountain Lion of 2018:

Monarch Butterflies

The pollinator garden in my yard has been a pretty good place for Monarch butterflies. So far this summer I’ve counted a couple dozen Monarch caterpillars, a number of chrysalis’s and have seen about 15 butterflies successfully emerge. I was able to catch some of the action.

Monarch caterpillar:

Monarch, chrysalis to butterfly:

Hummingbird Nest in the Patio

This little Broad-billed Hummingbird is likely the same one that built a nest in my patio last summer. Either way, she was able to successfully fledge two youngsters. There were plenty of hanging-plant options on which to build her nest, but she chose the green hook.

During her time incubating the eggs and feeding the nestlings the temperature in the patio was between 100 and 111 degrees (38 to 44 c.).  She had her work cut out for her.

Here she is incubating her eggs:

Here she is feeding her kids a few days before they fledged:

Life, Death and the vaquita

Baja California Sunset. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Since my last blog I have come to Mexico to join Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagr0, the on-going campaign to remove illegal gill nets set to capture the endangered totoaba. The swim bladders of the totoaba are said to be medicinal and sold in China for many thousands of dollars per kilogram.  These same nets catch and drown the vaquita, a critically endangered harbor porpoise endemic to the northern Gulf of California with an estimated population of less than 20.  Sea Shepherd is working in cooperation with the Mexican government to stop the poachers and give the vaquita and totoaba a fighting chance.

Update, catching up, wildlife etc. …

It’s been too long since my last post.  So much has happened and also life has been pretty quiet too.

Following up with the beaked whale project with Sea Shepherd, I flew over 50 drone flights in order to assist the biologists in identifying and documenting Cuvier’s Beaked Whales at Isla Guadalupe.  Here is the project video:

Here is a video of some of the wildlife and a shark diving boat at Isla Guadalupe:

Here is a video of flying through fog at Isla Guadalupe:

Next week I’ll be leaving to fly drones for Sea Shepherd on Operation Milagro, in our continuing efforts to save the endangered Vaquita from extinction.

Beaked Whales?

Last week I joined the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s reseach ship, the Martin Sheen. We will be supporting scientists studying beaked whales off the Pacific coast of Baja California. My role will be drone operator, tasked with documenting the marine mammals from the air when they surface. The scientists, who are all from Mexico, will be taking tissue samples for heavy metal and DNA testing as well as recording the whales songs.

Lots of Mountain Lions

The camera traps I’ve set up have captured some very nice mountain lion activity.  The following two videos show two different mountain lion families some 20 miles apart.

The first video is from Cat Canyon:

The second video is from Lion Wash, which I have had camera stationed on and off for over two years: